Answers to Our Most Frequently Asked Voting Questions
By Marisa Demarco
Feeling a little daunted by the whole election process? Not sure where to go or when, or how to vote early? Not even sure if you can vote? Look no further, dear readers, we've got you covered.
Can I still register to vote?
Not in the primary election. To register, the County Clerk’s Office has to receive your registration 28 days before an election. But you can still register for the general election on Nov. 7. Registration forms can be picked up or requested at the County Clerk's Office (468-1290), the Office of the Secretary of State (505-827-3600), any public library or the Motor Vehicle Department. Mail your registration to the County Clerk’s at One Civic Plaza NW, Albuquerque, N.M., 87102 by Oct. 11 or hand-deliver it by Oct. 13. The office is on the sixth floor.
What do I need to register?
If it's your first time registering in the state or country and you're mailing in your registration form, you need to send a copy of a current ID, utility bill, paycheck, bank statement or any government document with your name and residence on it. To make sure you have everything you need to register, check out the county clerk's website at bernco.gov.
How do I know if I'm registered? Where do I vote?
If you're not sure, call the County Clerk's Office at 468-1290. If you know you're registered and what address you're registered at, the website also has a “Where Do I Vote?” link on its home page (it's pretty small in the upper-right corner). From there you can enter in the address and find your polling location.
Who votes in a primary election?
Only folks who chose one of New Mexico's major political parties (Democrat, Republican) as their voter affiliation when they were registering can vote in the primary election. Those who chose “independent” or “none” can't vote in this one.
But the lines are so long ...
You can avoid long lines by going to the early voting sites up through Saturday, June 3. For a list of early voting sites and the times they're open, go to the county clerk's website at bernco.gov. Note, also, that in a turn of bureaucratic linguistic fate, early voting is now called “absentee in-person voting.”
Friday, June 2, is the last day for the county clerk to mail out absentee ballots. So if you prefer to vote by absentee, you must get your New Mexico absentee ballot application to the Bernalillo County Clerk's Office by 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 1. Absentee ballots are due back to the county clerk or your precinct by 7 p.m. on Election Day. Absentee voting is also recommended by the Secretary of State's Office for those not comfortable casting their ballots on electronic voting systems. Paper ballots should be in effect in time for the November general election, but are not yet in place for the primary.
If you haven't voted before and you registered by mail, then you should have some type of ID with you when you head to the polls. Any government document attaching your name to your address should do the trick, such as a photo ID, student ID, paycheck, bank statement, utility bill, etc.
Everyone else needs to be able to state their name, year of birth and the last four digits of their Social Security number. If you don't know those things, bring one of the physical IDs listed above.
All right, I'm all set. When do I vote?
The primary election is Tuesday, June 6. Go to your polling location between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. If you're in line when the polls close, don't worry, they'll still let you vote.
For any additional voting questions, contact the County Clerk's Office at 468-1290 or the Secretary of State's Office at (505) 827-3600.
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